When I was growing up, my family often gathered together at the dinner table – all seven of us. I so appreciated my mother’s home-cooked meals – fried chicken and scalloped potatoes, tacos and refried beans, BBQ hamburgers. More than the food though, I appreciated that dinner was a time to be with my family – to laugh together, share about our day, our hopes and dreams. I just knew that when I grew up, I was going to cook for my family every night so that we could experience what I did when I was young. I had good intentions, but then life happened.
As a full-time working mom of four children who balances family, work and ministry, I cannot tell you when the last time was that the six of us sat down together as a family for dinner, with the exception of threats, bribery or coercion. Well, not really, but it seems like it. We are never all home at the same time together, and when we are, we are all running in different directions.
Enter The Hour That Matters Most: The Surprising Power of the Family Meal, by Les & Leslie Parrott. This book shares the impact that something as simple as sharing a meal together around the table can have on a family. It also features the inspiring story of Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna, the founders of Dream Dinners.
Family togetherness at meals is something that I definitely struggle with, so I was excited to read this book in the hope that it would give me creative ideas on how I can gather my family together more often around the table, as well as invoking laughter and fun into our relationships. I really enjoyed the chapter on “Discovering the Lost art of Eating Together”. There the importance of family togetherness at meals was brought to the forefront, and it also helped me to understand that even though I work and my family is always coming and going, I can still be strategic and creative in planning ahead so that we can enjoy meals together. This chapter also talked about a couple of the biggest pitfalls to family togetherness at mealtime: treating your kitchen like a food court and keeping your TV on during the meal. We are the “TV watchers”. Even when the sound is muted, it is a huge distraction and takes the focus off of the conversations and relationship building. This is something that we as a family definitely need to work on.
All throughout the book there are creative ideas and tips to help you regain control of your family meal times. Following each chapter there are simple and easy recipes, using fresh and healthy ingredients, which your family is sure to enjoy. The other thing this book has throughout are great conversation starters, as well as ways to turn a conversation to get your family engaging in healthy and heartfelt table talk at dinner time.
If you’re looking for a way to bring love, fun and togetherness to your family during a time that can often be viewed as stressful, read this book and rediscover the lost art of the “family meal” and the positive impact it can have on the life of your family.
And exciting news! Our Sister Site, 5 Minutes for Moms, is giving away 12 copies of The Hour That Matters Most to 12 blessed readers. Click on over to 5 Minutes for Moms and see how you can enter to win this book that will not only change your life, but the life of your family.